Author Topic: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]  (Read 1962 times)

anthonypeers

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Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« on: March 09, 2011, 04:29:17 PM »
First off, I really love Brandon's work and the last couple Wheel of Time books have been really great.  But there was one thing that really confused the heck out of me.

For several books now, we've seen Rand slowly losing his humanity and hardening his heart. His Warders can feel the emotional effect, but they can't hear his thoughts.  We, on the other hand, do have the occasional peek inside his head, and it's always related to the litany of women who have died because of him, a list that always begins with the same name: Moiraine Damodred Aes Sedai.  Cadsuane always says he'll have to regain the emotions he's suppressing in order to be an effective Dragon come the Last Battle, but she doesn't know why he's suppressing them in the first place.  But we do: it's because of the women, and particularly Moiraine.

But we've always known that Moiraine was still alive. Even before seeing Thom's letter, we knew Moiraine is alive because of Min's viewing.  It always felt to me like these two things, taken together, constitute a very clear piece of foreshadowing: the event that restored Rand's humanity would be the shock of meting Moiraine, alive and well, after she was rescued from the tower, which makes the very foundation of the wall he's been sealing all his emotions behind crumble.

Instead, Rand goes up to Dragonmount and does something completely unrelated, an entire book before Moiraine gets rescued, and ends up getting his humanity back that way... and I was just all "what the heck just happened?" To me that doesn't feel like it fits at all.

Any thoughts or alternative perspectives on this?

Ipood

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 09:02:55 PM »
Well, I guess that it is more to show Rand as his own person, who actually comes to the realisation himself, forces himself to confront what he has become, instead of being forced by something och someone else. He is the one who is supposed to save the world, he has to have some will and power to deal with stuff of his own.

Xavien

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:15:31 AM »
While the list began with Moraine it did not end there.  Seeing Moraine alive would not have an affect on all the other women who have died because of him: they would still be dead.  And while I haven't read all the books in a while I believe the list started well before Moraine died.

Tasslehoof

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 01:17:47 AM »
Yeah, I didn't find it that big of a deal.. and he needed to come around sooner, rather than later, and he couldn't afford to wait for Moiraine to get out of the Tower of Ghenji (spelling?).

Plus, like Xavien said, the list started before Moiraine, and definitely didn't end there.  He just needed to come to terms with who he was, and who he was becoming.
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dhalagirl

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 04:16:46 AM »
It was one of those things that couldn't wait for Moiraine's return.  Rand had deteriorated so much that it was either come to grips with both halves of himself or destroy the world before Tarmon Gai'don.  The first time I read it it felt a deus ex machina, but after reading ToM I understood it better.  There's another reason for it happening that way, but I won't mention it since it's a spoiler for ToM.

Argent

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 08:49:55 AM »
Plus, regaining his humanity on his own is a culmination of a personal arc - a meeting with Moiraine would have been somewhat external influence. I believe that the scene as it is makes Rand a stronger character (not necessarily person, but a book character) than what any form of interaction between him and Moiraine would have brought him to.

This being said, I still think his reunion with the Blue Sister will have a great impact on his personality. But it's important to note that he took the bigger step by himself.
Power doesn't always have to corrupt. In many ways, it can change a man for the better.

apbadd

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 02:24:25 PM »
I too felt Moiraine would be the one to save Rand, her name was always recited first the list, but as others said Teams solving this on his own did more for his development.

happyman

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 04:31:45 PM »
I think you've all missed something.

Moiraine was not the first woman on his list, no matter what he said.  He *claimed* she was the first woman on his list because he was trying to deny death by insisting he was not Lews Therin.

The first woman on his list was Ilyena (spelling?), and she has a pivotal role in his epiphany.  Among other things, it allowed him to admit to himself who he really was.

So I think Moiraine was a red herring in this regard.  She's still needed, but not for the purposes speculated above.  "Coming to terms with himself" was what Rand needed to do, and this meant admitting that Moraine did not have the preeminent spot on the list.
Nature hates being reified.

Keyn

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 10:10:13 PM »
It didn't seem to me that Rand's loss of humanity was completely tied to the dead women. They were a big part of it, but many other factors went into it as well. Tough decisions he had to make about power and ruling and the like. It's been a while since I've reread the series, so I can't give a specific example. So it seemed to me that when he went to Dragonmount, he was dealing with a lot more than just the women who have died on his account. His loss of humanity had to do with a lot more than the list, so the recovery of his humanity didn't depend on solely on dealing with the list or Moiraine in particular. At least, that's how I read it.
"The love of a hero is more terrible than the hatred of a tyrant. The hatred of a hero is more generous than the love of a philanthropist." -G.K. Chesterton

dhalagirl

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 04:04:32 AM »
It wasn't tied exclusively to them.  They're just one of the many factors that led up to that moment.  You have to remember that he's the King of multiple nations, the Dragon Reborn, the Car'a'Carn (sorry if I misspelled), etc.  Then there's the White Tower and various political factions he's coordinating and manipulating as well as the armies and ashaman to gather and train in preparation for the last battle.  Plus there's starving nations to feed and keep in order amongst the chaos, Forsaken to thwart, and prophecies to fulfill.

I'm sure there's other things I've left out, but you get the point.  All of these factors added up are more than enough to break a lesser man.  While I agree that Moiraine's absence is a contributing factor, it's not one of the major factors leading up to his...hmm, what to call it...self-reconciliation I guess?

Endra kin'Fox

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 07:57:57 PM »
I agree with pretty much everything said here. Moiraine wasn't the first, however she was a arguably the most important to Rand on a relationship level. And it did indeed start before the women. With all that has been said, the next step is to see what the books say. It started at his birth. As stated in the prophecies:
“At the end of time, when the many become one, the last storm shall gather its angry winds
to destroy a land already dying. And at its center, the blind man shall stand upon his own grave.
There he shall see again, and weep for what has been wrought.

-The Essanik Cycle
It is stated that it will happen on Dragonmount, with no refference to the women. You may argue back and forth on whether the prophecies are what will happen/what needs to happen/what could happen but whatever the case, this is what they say.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:00:59 PM by Endra kin'Fox »
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Tasslehoof

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2011, 03:27:16 AM »
I think you've all missed something.

Moiraine was not the first woman on his list, no matter what he said.  He *claimed* she was the first woman on his list because he was trying to deny death by insisting he was not Lews Therin.

The first woman on his list was Ilyena (spelling?), and she has a pivotal role in his epiphany.  Among other things, it allowed him to admit to himself who he really was.

So I think Moiraine was a red herring in this regard.  She's still needed, but not for the purposes speculated above.  "Coming to terms with himself" was what Rand needed to do, and this meant admitting that Moraine did not have the preeminent spot on the list.

I can see what you mean, but I really think it was a lot more than this.  The way you are putting it, it seems like the only reason Rand is having issues is because of letting the women around him die (or causing their deaths).  Someone else already said it, but think of all the things hes juggling.  Imagine you are the Pope, the President of the USA, the leader of the UN, and organizing multiple disaster relief coalitions, and even fighting an alien invasion (Seanchen).  Its impossible, literally.  It is much more than just the women, while I agree that they are a chunk, they are definitely in no way the largest.
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happyman

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Re: Gathering Storm ending question [spoilers within]
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2011, 04:36:05 PM »
I think you've all missed something.

Moiraine was not the first woman on his list, no matter what he said.  He *claimed* she was the first woman on his list because he was trying to deny death by insisting he was not Lews Therin.

The first woman on his list was Ilyena (spelling?), and she has a pivotal role in his epiphany.  Among other things, it allowed him to admit to himself who he really was.

So I think Moiraine was a red herring in this regard.  She's still needed, but not for the purposes speculated above.  "Coming to terms with himself" was what Rand needed to do, and this meant admitting that Moraine did not have the preeminent spot on the list.

I can see what you mean, but I really think it was a lot more than this.  The way you are putting it, it seems like the only reason Rand is having issues is because of letting the women around him die (or causing their deaths).  Someone else already said it, but think of all the things hes juggling.  Imagine you are the Pope, the President of the USA, the leader of the UN, and organizing multiple disaster relief coalitions, and even fighting an alien invasion (Seanchen).  Its impossible, literally.  It is much more than just the women, while I agree that they are a chunk, they are definitely in no way the largest.

It's all about context.  People were claiming Moraine was important because she was the top of the "woman list".

She wasn't.  She never was the top of the list at all (no matter what Rand claimed to himself), and that's not why she mattered to Rand.  This should be very clear in hind-sight.

But yes, everything else kind of piled on top of Rand as well.

I still say his personal issues, and especially his personal life, and especially Ilyena, were an important part of it, though.  An extremely important part of his epiphany was his realization "If I live again, she might as well!"
Nature hates being reified.